Beneficial bacteria in the environment and their uses.
In today’s world, the environment and its related issues are steadily gaining a lot of importance. Some bacteria are helpful and are used to obtain balance in the environment. It has been seen that helpful bacteria are useful in dissolving organic sludge from water, breaking down the growth of algae, reducing the various noxious odours such as hydrogen sulfide odours, reducing ammonia levels, promoting faster growth of fish in the water body and also defeating unhealthy bacterial growth in the water body. 2.0.1. Bacteria and soil
In an environment, all types of life occur in cycles. When a plant or animal dies, it is replaced by another and the cycle continues. Decomposition occurs when a plant or animal dies. This is the process in which dead organisms are broken down to their basic elements. Streptomycetes are bacteria essential to decomposition found naturally in soil and are responsible for breaking down decaying plant and animal matter. Without this bacteria, dead matter would quickly build up throughout the environment. The process of the breakdown by streptomycetes releases nutrients into the soil, which allows new life to grow. Bacteria can break down organic compounds at remarkable speed and help us in our waste processing and bioremediation activities. Bacteria are frequently used for cleaning up spills. They are useful in cleaning up toxic waste. 2.1. Uses of good bacteria in the human body.
Gut flora consist of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of animals and it is the largest reservoir of human flora. It is estimated that these gut flora have around hundred times as many genes in aggregate as there are in human genome. Though people can survive without gut flora, the microorganisms perform a host of useful functions such as fermenting unused energy substrate, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful and pathogenic bacteria(Guamer F, Malagelada JR, february 2003), regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins for the host such as biotin and vitamin K and producing hormones to direct the host to store fats. However, in certain conditions, some species are thought to be capable of causing diseases by producing infection or increasing the risk of cancer in the host(Guamer et al 2003). Over 99% of the bacteria in the gut are anaerobes but in the caecum, aerobic bacteria reach high densities(Guamer). Most of the species of bacteria that exist in the gut which have been identified belong to the genera Bacteriodes, Clostridium, Fusobacterium, Eubacterium, Ruminocococcus, Peptococcus, Peptostreptococcus and Bifidobacterium(Guamer). Other genera such as Escherichia and Lactobacillus are present in lesser amount. Without gut flora, the human body would be unable to utilize some of the undigested carbohydrates it consumes because some types of gut flora have enzymes that human cells lack for breaking down certain polysaccharides(Sears, C.L, October 2005). Rodents raised in a sterile environment and lacking in gut flora need to eat 30% more calories just to remain the same weight as their normal counterpart(Sears, C.L, October 2005). Carbohydrates that humans cannot digest without bacterial help include certain starches, fibre, oligosaccharides and sugars that the body failed to digest and absorb like lactose in the case of lactose intolerance and sugar alcohols, mucus produced by the gut and proteins. A further result is flatulence, specifically the metabolism of oligosaccharides(notably from beans) by Methanobrevibacter smithii.. Bacteria turn carbohydrates they ferment into short chain fatty acids(SCFA) by a form of fermentation called saccharolytic fermentation. Products include acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid. These materials can be used by host cells, providing a major source of useful energy and nutrients for humans, as well as helping the body to absorb essential dietary...